Chelsea 3 Sporting 1: Jose Mourinho says Diego Costa had a 'very good game' despite failing to score again

Costa has now gone four games without a goal

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The Independent Online

No goals, for the sixth successive Champions League game, and the fourth in all competitions, yet Diego Costa, according to Jose Mourinho, still had a "very good" game against Sporting Lisbon at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Chelsea scored 17 goals in winning their group, the best of any team in this Champions League, yet Costa failed to score one. His last goal in the competition was against Chelsea, during Atletico Madrid‘s win at the Bridge in April.

Yet Costa did play well on Wednesday, leading the line with dynamism and intelligence. He bullied and stretched the Sporting defence creating the conditions and space for team-mates to thrive. Indeed, Andre Schurrle should have put the game to bed with a third Chelsea goal by the quarter-mark from his pass after Costa had worked the left-flank.

 

“He was good, very good,” said Mourinho, who pre-match had said he would play Costa as the striker needed to hone his match-sharpness having been short of training due to a hamstring injury. “He wants to improve his condition,” added Mourinho after it. “His confidence is not high, his condition is not the best, but he wanted to use the game to chase lots of runs and movements, always wanting the ball and to associate with the wingers and Cesc Fabregas.

“It was very important for him. I saw him better than against Newcastle and Sunderland. This game was important for him.” That Mourinho kept Costa on for the full 90 minutes, even after the introduction of Loic Remy, showed how much he feels the Spanish international needs work at match tempo.

With 11 goals this season Costa could still match last season’s 35-goal tally with Atletico, though he would need to recover the early season form that saw him score seven times in his first four Chelsea appearances. He still has ten in 12 Premier League appearances. The goals, insisted Mourinho, “will come”.

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